Yellow tea has a lighter flavor, yet not quite as light as white tea, and not as vegetal or grassy as many green teas. The aroma is described as flowery, fresh and mild.
Yellow tea is typically harvested early in the year, before most green teas are harvested. This means that the leaves are younger, that they are still rolled up into buds, and that the leaves are smaller when rolled out. While green tea is often cut and ground, yellow tea is always sold in whole leaves, often in thin buds.
As for health benefits, well ... not much research has been done. However, the leaves come from the same plants as white tea and green tea, so it is not unreasonable to believe that the health benefits might be quite the same as those found in the heavily studied green tea.
Yellow tea is rare, and very little of the annual harvest is allocated to yellow tea production. Yellow tea is, at $9.00 and ounce, a little pricier than other teas.
I've always justified the cost of tea by accepting that I'm paying for some that was hand-processed and flown to me from the other side of the world. In that light, its tea the most affordable luxury in our lives today? Off to ponder that over a cup of Sparrow Tongue.
(Should have been here the day it first arrived. The mysterious looking bag says Sparrow Tongues amidst a lot of Chinese text. The employee and a curious customer had a lot of questions for me when I walked through the door ...)
Hey PETA peeps: No sparrows where injured during the manufacturing of this tea.